Days after he easily won the Democratic nomination for Minnesota Attorney General, Keith Ellison is under pressure over an allegation of domestic abuse made by an ex-girlfriend.
The description of "narcissist abuse" made by Karen Monahan has already led to one group, the National Organization for Women, to call for him to step out of the races.
Its president, Tina Van Pelt, said that Ellison has "no right to serve" as Minnesota's chief legal officer "if the allegations are true."
And even while the claim against him is investigated, she says he "must withdraw from the race and not put Minnesotans through another cycle of political scandal."
"Politics doesn’t matter. We believe survivors," she added.
After winning the primary on Tuesday, Ellison continued to vehemently deny the allegations, telling supporters: "We had a very unexpected event at the end of this campaign.
"That happened. I want to assure you that it's not true. We are going to keep fighting all the way through. We are going to stand upon the truth and insist upon the truth."
In an exclusive interview with WCCO on Wednesday, Ellison denied any kind of physical or emotional abuse, and rejected the claim that his accuser has a video of him dragging her off the bed by her feet – a video Monahan says she won't release because it's traumatizing and embarrassing.
"I never did that," Ellison said. "Simply didn’t happen."
The allegation has put state Democrats in a difficult position, considering there are some who still feel aggrieved by the forced resignation of Al Franken after alleged inappropriate conduct, with the senator stepping down even before a formal. Senate investigation could take place.
On Thursday, DFL chair Ken Martin said there are still "questions out there that need to be answered," noting the party's lawyers are studying the claims before showing what the Pioneer Press described as "tepid" support for Ellison.
"This is a developing story, and we don’t know where it’s going," he said. "Keith is our nominee. We stand with Keith at this point."
The Star Tribune reports that Gov. Mark Dayton, describing Ellison as the "vastly superior candidate" over GOPer Doug Wardlow, said he takes the allegation seriously, but doesn't know if he believes it.
His opponent attacks
As for Wardlow, he has spent the first days after winning the nomination attacking his opponent hard, over the allegation as well as what he calls his "extremist" policies.
Wardlow, who worked as counsel for the conservative Christian legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom, wrote on Tuesday: "With Keith Ellison’s primary victory, Minnesotans now have a clear choice in November.
"I will defend the rule of law, not undermine it. I will fight to protect all Minnesotans, not use the office to push extremist policies.
"I will stand with our law enforcement, not against them. And lastly, I will bring integrity and morality to the office, not allegations of domestic violence or clouded judgment."